By Olufemilade Oyinade
Vice President of the Nigerian Nation, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said that small scale business operators would be the major beneficiaries of a $500m support fund from the African Development Bank.
Osinbajo stated this while speaking at the 33rd Inaugural Lecture of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo and the 65th birthday celebration of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluseyi Oduyoye.
The VP at the lecture titled, ‘From the Small Business to Big Business: A Future with Little Hope’, disclosed that the fund from the African Development Bank would be a boost to small scale enterprises, adding it would be an addition to the N75b the federal government has made available for young people and small businesses in the country.
Osinbajo further noted that it was important for the country to keep on working on its small businesses as they are the future of the country, adding that “such small businesses bring hope and job opportunities for the people”.
He added: “The Africa Development Bank(AFDB) has agreed to support the government with five hundred million dollars for small businesses, technology in particular.
“So, we think that this is something that is going to be very helpful in addition to the seventy-five billion naira fund which the Federal Government has set up for young people and small businesses.
“We must keep working on small businesses because that sector is the future of our country and those businesses bring hope, job, opportunities and I strongly believe that this is where we will love to be headed”.
Professor Osinbajo, while disclosing that the Federal Government after it realised that the Medium Small Scale Enterprise is the way to go, opted to have MSMEs Clinics in all the states of the federation, with a view to ensure that small businesses do not go through too much obstacles in meeting with regulatory agencies that could aid their development.
Osinbajo added that about twelve states of the federation have one-stop centers where business owners can meet with all the regulatory agencies as they all have offices in the states, saying “one of the things the Federal Government was able to do for small business owners during the COVID-19 period was the availability of MSME Survival Funds that gave almost a million business owners the needed support”.
“Our government decided to do what is described as MSME clinics, this is a commission that I have the privilege of chairing. And what do the clinics do is that we go to every state of the federation almost on a bi-monthly basis and work with state governments to support small businesses across the country.
“The clinic was designed to bring regulatory agencies whose work affect the business enterprise of MSMEs, so what we do is that we go to the state and we go with the regulatory agencies. The idea is to bring the regulatory agencies to the various states so that the MSMEs can meet with them and discuss on various problems.
“One of the things we did with MSMEs during COVID- 19 and right after it was MSMEs Survival Fund. The fund gave almost a million businesses support after the pandemic, we paid three month salaries for several MSMEs, especially private primary and secondary schools. We paid for teachers and also for several transport owners,” the VP disclosed.
Osinbajo, who pointed out that the Federal Government created resource centres in some states where clusters for farming and processing are made available, added that the resource centres would avail farmers with the needed resources to get their own equipment come together and use the equipment at the center.
Earlier, Prof. Oduyoye while calling on the Federal Government to pay more attention to the survival of small businesses in the country, noted that small businesses often failed to develop as a result of lack of finance and harsh tax policies of government.
He also called on the FG to also ensure that it creates a body like the American Small Business Administration(SBA) and the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria(SMEDAN) to deal with problems of small businesses in the country.
According to him, small businesses when fully backed by government tend to promote the creation and advance of innovations through its close cooperation with customers .